Today I spent an hour at the Abbey Street Age Action computer training room where some silver surfers (over 55s) brought along their iPads to learn how to use them courtesy of Apple Reseller Compu B. In a slightly chaotic class they did learn some basics. Some were using the iPad for the first time, while others were little bit more experienced. I was surprised to find that some had received iPads as gifts from family - Age Action provided an ideal informal workshop to help get them started. There was no syllabus, no list of tasks to complete - just get cracking on surfing the Internet. For some we had to overcome WiFi connection difficulties, no email accounts, and no Apple Store ID - it's difficult to hold a class without these things. Some left without achieving very much, and I felt a bit frustrated at this. No doubt more organized sessions will be required - the iPad is here to stay as our silver surfers have shown.
|Image Source: Age Action.
Writing in January 2010, shortly after the iPad was launched, Damien Mulley wrote a telling piece in his blog entitled "Our Mums are about to join the web". Mulley stated that the iPad "is going to make using the web easy for people who up to know found using a mouse, keyboard and a browser a tad intimidating". How right he was - I can safely say that his prediction is coming true. I noted that older learners who have never used a computer before find the touch and feel of an iPad much easier to cope with than a keyboard and mouse required for a PC.
Age Action are currently running their annual Silver Surfer Awards - nominations are now open. The Silver Surfer Award is for the over 50s "who have an interesting story about how they use their computer, internet and mobile phone use". God I'm over 50 - I actually qualify for this myself!